Dáil Éireann - Volume 637 - 04 July, 2007
Written Answers. - Adult Education.
Deputy Róisín Shortall Deputy Róisín Shortall
Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science her views on the AONTAS Demand Your Right to Learn campaign; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19185/07]
Deputy Seán Haughey Deputy Seán Haughey
Deputy Seán Haughey: I am in regular contact with AONTAS and have had several meetings with them, which included discussion of the Demand Your Right to Learn campaign. I have arranged to meet with representatives of AONTAS again shortly.
The campaign has already elicited positive responses to some of the demands. Other demands will be progressed as resources permit.
For example my recent appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment as well as at the Department of Education and Science reinforces the cross-Departmental nature of the adult education service.
The call for increased investment in adult education is reflected in the provisions of not only Towards 2016, the National Development Plan and the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion, but also in the Programme for Government. Additional learner numbers have been provided for in Youthreach, the Back to Education Initiative and adult literacy. In addition, improvements are envisaged in continuing professional development for Further Education staff, improved support services and the evaluation of existing programmes.
In fact, the overall Adult and Further Education budget has increased by 50% in the last five years.
In addition to a commitment to increase investment in the Back To Education Initiative (BTEI), the eligibility criteria for participation in the programme have recently been amended to allow free tuition to any adult with less than upper second level education. Childcare support has recently been extended to include BTEI learners.
The objectives of the Programme for Government that I am responsible for implementing are in harmony with these of the AONTAS campaign. I intend to address them during my term of office.
Dáil Éireann 637 Written Answers. Adult Education.